It is interesting to me that in this age of graphical fidelity where it is possible to create in great detail a nuanced, fully-fleshed world that a player can delve into, that with greater frequency I find myself drawn to games that tell the story of a world in many ways through abstraction.
A decade and longer ago I was, like so many others, obsessed with the seemingly limitless potential of improving graphics in video games. From the day I bought and installed my first 3dfx Voodoo 2 with its 8MB of RAM, it's promises of unlocking impossible resolutions such as 1024x768, and its ability to actually run EverQuest, a bold game that actually required 3d acceleration, I had in my head visions of someday playing photo-realistic games.
I knew in my darkest heart's desires that someday when hyper-realistic games were the norm, they would be all I’d play.
We could quibble on how close games are or are-not to this long held, photo-realism ideal, but by any measurable means were I to hand myself a screenshot of The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition or Grand Theft Auto 5 back in 1998, I’d have conceded that these games are at least close enough. And yet, more and more these are games I play and dabble with like a kid handed a plate full of brussel sprouts and peas. I metaphorically push the games around with a fork for a while and try to cover them up with a napkin while I ask to be excused from the table.
Instead my time is monopolized by games like Galactic Civilizations 3, Order of Battle: Pacific, Rimworld, Kerbal Space Program and, of course, my long standing obsession with Paradox’s Europa Universalis IV -- take a drink! -- all games that I find far more immersive and evocative than these other games with incredibly detailed and visually stunning worlds.